New year, new opportunities! Planning to visit foreign countries during the coming months to establish new, offshore business? If so, knowing the latest airline baggage rules is a big bonus. Here is some advice on flying with luggage.

1. Think new. Squeezing as much as you can into the overhead locker is problematic and decidedly unpleasant; for you and your fellow passengers. Consider buying  a new cabin bag that’s in accordance with international hand luggage rules. This way, you’ll avoid hefty excess cabin baggage fines, and save yourself the hassle of the ‘will or won’t they separate me from my luggage?’

2. Don’t carry on regardless – know your limits. Sounds obvious, because it is! The overhead storage space on a commuter airplane differs from that on a jet, and therefore it will not accommodate similar-sized carry-on luggage.  Contact the airline to find out about the allowed dimensions of carry-on luggage for your specific flight.

3. Be ruthless! Take only valuable items in a small carry-on bag. These include your passport, travel documents, wallet, cell phone, medications and extra eye glasses if needed. Then ask yourself, what would you need for a day if your luggage did not arrive? For example, an extra set of clothing, shampoo, toothbrush and paste, shaving kit and/or cosmetics.

4. What about liquids? You will not be allowed to take your own bottled water to drink on the flight. And if you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll know not to take bulk liquids in your hand luggage. Liquids of 100ml or less are permitted on the basis that all containers you’re carrying can fit into a single transparent and re-usable plastic bag.

5. Become a weight-watcher. Passengers whose luggage exceeds the airline’s weight allowance are charged a fee. Contact the airline re what these weight restrictions are and the possible cost associated.

Many people travelling on business to conferences, expos, etc., travel heavy even though they’re on a budget. If this applies to you, check with the airline to determine the fee for a second bag and whether you will be charged for overweight luggage.

6. Benefits of being a lightweight. If your trip allows you get away with only hand luggage, great! It’s quicker – no check-in queues, no waiting at carousels, and you get to car hire or taxi first. It’s safer – you get to keep your luggage with you, and no worries about theft or damage in the cargo hold! So there’s less stress.

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